Logic – YSIV

Welcome and wishes of peace love and positivity to all readers. Today we will be getting into the fourth studio album release of Gaithersburg, MD native emcee Logic, YSIV.  First up will be a scouting report, where I talk about his strengths and weaknesses as a rapper, best works and other recent and notable things about him and his music. Then I will get into the track-by-track breakdown where I’ll make some notes about each song and give each one a rating out of 5. Finally, I will break it down with some final thoughts about the album itself and give it a final score out of 100 (see here for more detail on how I score tracks/projects). Without further ado, Ima let you know what’s really good with this project.

Scouting Report

  • Stylized as YSIV (a.k.a. Young Sinatra 4), this album is the fourth installment of his fan-favorite Young Sinatra series; however, this is the first Young Sinatra project that will be released as a full studio album, and also the first one to be released in five years.
  • This is not the first project that he’s put out in 2018; he released Bobby Tarantino 2 earlier in the year. Bobby Tarantino is his “trap” alter ego when he feels like going in on more “mainstream” production. Unfortunately, whenever he assumes this alter ego, he always seems to try to do too much and justify himself despite being a hip-hop “purist” by nature, and thus this project was met with many lukewarm reviews
  • Logic is (not so) surprisingly one of the most successful artists in hip-hop today when it comes to album sales. He has built a large and dedicated fan base over many years of annually releasing full bodies of work, constantly touring and by making many personal connections with his fans, known collectively as the “RattPack.” He is very in touch with his fans and takes care of them more so than most other artists in hip-hop, and he rightfully is reaping the monetary benefits.
  • Logic divides opinion amongst the culture. There is an apparent disconnect between the media publications/personalities and fans regarding how good of an artist he is. Those in the mainstream media don’t seem to anoint him as one of the top guys in the game, but his large core fanbase says otherwise; they speak loud on social media and are willing to put their money where their mouths are.
  • Skills: impressive and natural lyricist, also can execute rapid and difficult flow patterns, influenced by the old school. Has an above average ear for beats as well, picks things that don’t sound too mainstream and that have many layers to them most of the time (as long as he’s not Bobby Tarantino).
  • Weaknesses: Can come across as preachy at times in his subject matter, punchlines can be predictable, and at times his delivery sounds forced when trying to flex his prowess on the mic; doesn’t always catch the vibe of the track.
  • Best Songs before this release: Inception,” “The High Life (feat. Elijah Blake)“, “Nikki,” “Never Been,” “1-800-273-8255 (feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid)
  • Best Project before this release: Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever (mixtape)

Track-by-Track

1. Thank You (feat. Lucy Rose & The RattPack)

      • Continues off of the end of his last album Everybody (and the album before) by including a skit of the same characters he invented for his concept second album The Incredible True Story
      • Relaxing, guitar-ridden instrumental with old school drums and shakers, evolves throughout the song
      • Logic only raps one verse thanking his fans for aiding his incredible come up and giving him the beautiful life he gets to live, humbling
      • Surprisingly well-delivered melodic chorus from Logic and Lucy Rose
      • Includes the Rattpack (his fans from all over the U.S. and the World) for a very long interlude, using their voicemail testimonials on what they mean to him
      • OVERALL: 4/5

2. Everybody Dies

      • The third single for the album, it was released a few weeks before album release
      • Instrumental is right in his wheelhouse, produced by longtime collaborator 6ix. Upbeat and sample driven (Bruce Lee documentary); allows him to spit in his more old school cadence and flow where he thrives
      • Takes the lyrical approach and brings the bars for sure, first verse more impressive than the second where he is a victim of trying to do too much with the fast flow and sacrifices delivery
      • OVERALL 3.5/5

3. The Return

      • Second single for the album, released about a month before the album release
      • 6ix gives him a beat that is chopped with many different samples (Crack Music by Kanye/Game, Wild is the Wind by Nina Simone) but not notably impressive or attention-grabbing
      • Lyrical content includes lots of bars referencing the return of his mixtape alter ego (which he has also titled the album after) Young Sinatra, notably drops the n-word (as a rapper who is seen as white even though he is biracial) and calls out Jay-Z and requests for a collaboration
      • Chorus is the same one that was used on the outro of his track “Dear God” off of his Young Sinatra: Undeniable mixtape
      • OVERALL: 3/5

4. The Glorious Five

      • Nostalgic sounding instrumental, one of the better ones on this album
      • Lyrics reference his come up all the way from his childhood to his journey through the music industry and his rise to fame and tries to prove to fans that he’s still the same person that he was coming up, fast flow appears again at the end but fits better on this track
      • Another nicely crafted melodic chorus from Logic, two for two on that front already on an area that was formerly a weakness for him
      • OVERALL: 4/5

5. One Day (feat. Ryan Tedder)

      • First single off of the album, released in July of this year
      • Great hook from Ryan Tedder, very well written and very well executed, also harmonizes “One Day” ad-libs during the verse
      • Instrumental and content transition very well from the last track, feel-good vibe on this instrumental, Big Sean Finally-Famous-era-esque
      • Lyrics are celebratory and braggadocious; happy that he made it out of a terrible childhood and home life to become as successful as he is. Bar “Most these rappers ain’t got no class like bomb threats.”
      • OVERALL: 4/5

6. Wu-Tang Forever (feat. Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, RZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, Jackpot Scotty Wotty, U-God, Masta Killa & GZA)

      • Instrumental produced by 6ix is very much made to cater to ALL of the Wu-Tang members featured on the track, very old school boom-bap-ish
      • Posse cut! Rare in that respect, Logic holds his own with the Wu-Tang members, which is no easy feat. However, he talks down on the newer and less conventional styles of hip-hop and makes him sound like a hater (not a Logic criticism, every time someone does that, he/she seems like a hater)
      • No chorus, not that there was any room for one on this 8-minute behemoth with every single Wu-Tang member
      • OVERALL: 3.5/5

7. 100 Miles and Running (feat. John Lindahl & Wale)

      • Very upbeat and bouncy sample-based instrumental, good vibes throughout and evolves as the song goes on. Self-produced in part by Logic as well, very impressive
      • The hook is delivered well by the falsetto John Lindahl; his voice sounds somewhat similar to Justin Timberlake which is never a bad thing
      • Both Logic and Wale spit great verses over this production as their first collaboration; great chemistry as both rappers from the DMV. Logic notably goes back to his fast flow, on his second verse and on the outro, but this time it fits in excellently with the production
      • OVERALL: 4.5/5

8. Ordinary Day (feat. Hailee Steinfeld)

      • Logic is 3 for 3 when it comes to his self-delivered melodic choruses on this album, each one more impressive than the rest. Hailee Steinfeld also adds a nice touch with her vocals on the final two chorus and bridge
      • 6ix’s instrumental is spacey and has some dope futuristic elements to it, but also keeps the upbeat nature of the album giving Logic room to do his thing
      • Logic is all over the place (in a good way) in the verse; executes the chopper flow well as well as transitions to a melodic bridge which is on the same high level as the chorus
      • OVERALL: 4.5/5

9. YSIV

      • Very familiar and classic sample used (Melancholy Mood by Marian McPartland Trio) in the instrumental, 6ix puts his spin on it to cater to Logic, breakbeat evolves to a piano style for the second half
      • Chorus is a sample of AZ on Nas’s “Life’s a Bitch”, pays homage by adding his spin at the end
      • Logic brings the bars on this one, one of (if not the) best rap performances on the album here on the lengthy second verse and openly talks about his artistic inspirations and also tells a short anecdote about two kids from childhood that grew up
      • Pays heavy homage and a touching tribute to the late Mac Miller in the outro where he reveals he was the inspiration behind the Young Sinatra series
      • OVERALL: 4/5

10. Street Dreams II

      • Breakbeat from 6ix that has a lot of sonic elements and different sounds of the city matching up with Logics lyrics
      • No chorus, tells a fictional story about him robbing a store and with his producer 6ix (who is not from the streets) who ends up getting shot, only to reveal the end of the song that all the events took place in a dream
      • Good storytelling ability but the street content is not what I want to hear from Logic because it is not really believable even though he never claimed it to be
      • OVERALL: 3.5/5

11. The Adventures of Stoney Bob (feat. Kajo, Big Lenbo & Slay Dro)

      • The beat has a nice chill vibe to it, definitely fits with the subject content
      • Song is a weed anthem, which is an odd turn for the formerly straight-edge Logic; sounds out of place on this subject matter even though he’s done a song like this on his last project; almost sounds like he’s a teenager who’s discovered weed for the first time and says all of the cliche stoner lingo to let us know that he smokes weed
      • Verses from his close friends are pretty average, nothing special there
      • OVERALL: 2.5/5

12. Legacy

      • Naz and Sunny Norway give Logic a piano ridden, and vocal sample infused breakbeat that gives him room to work lyrically
      • Logic raps from a different perspective for the second time in three tracks  and this time it works for him
      • He gives an introspective look at someone that is a workaholic that misses key life events for his family but is always able to provide and get his family in a great position
      • He then dies and realizes that he misses all these important things and then has an epiphany that he doesn’t care about a “rap” legacy and all he wants to do is live his life
      • OVERALL 4/5

13. ICONIC (feat. Jaden Smith)

      • Song has two halves to it, first half’s instrumental is a hectic, heavy bass ridden and vocal sample infused. The second half is the best beat on the entire album, slows it down and adds a guitar loop to it and gives Logic room to rap
      • Hook is spoken word, nothing special despite it’s emphatic delivery and good Bill Gates entendre at the end of it.
      • Jaden Smith is solely on the song to perform an interlude that separates the first half and second half of the song, sets the tone well for the second half
      • Verses have similar subject content to them as Logic unapologetically flexes how he is one of the best rappers ever to do it, refreshing because it normally feels like he has to justify why he thinks he’s great to stay true to his humble persona
      • Manic pace doesn’t do well for Logic’s delivery on the first one, the second verse serves him much better and delivers a powerful verse with an excellent punchline referencing his prior success at the end “‘Cause when my last album dropped, you know we all won / Yeah, that shit went number one, so everybody won”
      • OVERALL: 4/5

14.  Last Call

      • Instrumental dubbed by Logic himself as “some fucking Last Call shit”, very much a piano emphasized, emotional instrumental
      • The song is a direct homage to Kanye’s “Last Call” and delivers it almost identically with multiple speaking interludes and verses to follow, cool but somewhat unoriginal
      • Tells his own story in a lot of detail (10 minutes worth), covers everything from growing up, couch surfing, to how he met 6ix, signing to Def Jam, releasing all of his alba all the way up to this point
      • Gives an inspiring speech telling his fans to go follow their dreams and do what you need to do to make them happen
      • OVERALL 3.5/5

Final Thoughts

      • Much better than the Bobby Tarantino 2 project that he put out earlier this year, and his most consistent album release in years from top to bottom
      • Shows off a new element of his creativity with his very improved melody game; many excellently crafted hooks from a self-proclaimed boom-bap enthusiast
      • A few missteps in terms of the songs (Stoney Bob was extremely corny) and there were cases where he was overcomplicating things and trying to do too much but not as much as he has on other recent projects
      • Retells the same story that he’s told over and over again regarding his family life and his traumatic childhood, but I understand recounting these events if they’ve strongly impacted one as a person to this day

FINAL SCORE: 78/100

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